March 03, 2016

Obama-Biden endorsement in U.S. Senate race fractures Florida Democrats


A division of the Florida Democratic Party is upset that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have chimed in on the contentious party primary in the state's U.S. Senate race.

Obama and Biden on Wednesday endorsed U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, over fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, further fortifying Murphy's status as the establishment pick.

But progressive Democrats have passionately backed Grayson and the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida -- an official subsection of the state party -- doesn't think it's appropriate for the national party's figureheads to take sides.

"As someone who worked hard to help President Obama win Florida in 2008 and 2012, I am profoundly saddened and disappointed by his apparent lack of trust in Florida Democrats to choose our own U.S. Senate nominee," caucus president Susan Smith said in a statement this morning.

Smith pointed to Grayson's favorable polling. She also criticized Murphy's congressional record and the fact that he was previously a Republican before running for office.

"As much as it breaks my heart to see President Obama attempt to put his thumb on the scale for Patrick Murphy, it's even more worrisome that the president seems to have done so with bad information," Smith said. "I hope the President will read up on Murphy's real record and reconsider his decision to throw the weight of the White House behind someone who will do Wall Street's bidding."

The Florida Democratic Party doesn't endorse in primaries before the qualifying deadline and has no plans to endorse a candidate. 

Executive director Scott Arceneaux told the Herald/Times that the state party is "deeply disappointed in the Progressive Caucus’ statement."

"To use this statement to imply the President and Vice President of the United States are misinformed or unable to thoughtfully arrive at conclusions that differ from the Progressive Caucus’ view is as disturbing as their decision to attack a Democratic member of Florida’s congressional delegation," Arceneaux said in a statement.

He added, “We are a big tent party with diverse views and should be able to disagree without being disagreeable. The Florida Democratic Party welcomes the input of President Obama and Vice President Biden in our races.”

Also Wednesday, Obama and Biden endorsed former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in that state's party primary for the U.S. Senate. Murphy and Strickland were the first Senate candidates Obama and Biden have endorsed this cycle.

March 02, 2016

Barack Obama, Joe Biden endorse Patrick Murphy in Florida's U.S. Senate race; Republicans go on the attack



Adding to his lengthy -- and growing -- list of establishment endorsements, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy just landed the two biggest names possible for a Democrat: Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

The president and vice president of the United States are backing Murphy in his bid for Marco Rubio's U.S. Senate seat, Murphy's campaign announced this morning.

And Biden will campaign with Murphy on March 28, the campaign said. Specific details haven't been released yet.

In statements provided by the campaign, both Obama and Biden heaped praise on Murphy, a congressman from Jupiter, for his work supporting the middle-class and a host of other issues.

"Patrick has been a tireless champion for middle-class families and a defender of the economic progress that American workers and businesses have made," Obama said in the statement. "In Congress, he's fought to strengthen Medicare and Social Security, reform our criminal justice system, and protect a woman's right to choose. Floridians can count on Patrick Murphy to stand up for them every day as their next Senator."

Biden added, "Patrick Murphy has the progressive values, the work ethic and the youthful energy the U.S. Senate needs. He'll work tirelessly to bring people together to make a difference for Florida's middle class."

The endorsements -- including that compliment -- weren't well-received by Murphy's primary opponent, fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson. The Orlando congressman is a proud and passionate progressive, who's banking on progressives' support to beat Murphy in Florida's Democratic primary in August.

Grayson's campaign said in a statement that Obama's and Biden's endorsements smack of "a last-ditch effort by the D.C. Establishment to try to blunt our large and growing command of the race."

Continue reading "Barack Obama, Joe Biden endorse Patrick Murphy in Florida's U.S. Senate race; Republicans go on the attack" »

September 03, 2015

Joe Biden, Debbie Wasserman Schultz to meet with Jews about Iran deal at JCC in Davie

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is facing one of the toughest decisions of her career: vote for President Barack Obama’s key Iran deal and risk alienating part of her base. Or vote against the deal, and risk having her loyalty questioned as head of the Democratic National Committee.

On Thursday, one of the Iran deal’s key supporters, Vice President Joe Biden, will meet with her and Jewish leaders in South Florida to push the president’s proposal at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie.

Wasserman Schultz, whose district runs from western Broward to Miami Beach, has not said whether she supports the agreement. But the Weston Democrat arranged the meeting, which suggests she wants the White House and Jewish leaders to hear each other’s opinions about the deal — even though by this point many have already staked out their position.

Wasserman Schultz turned down a Miami Herald request for an interview about the Iran meeting with Biden. Only a portion of the meeting, likely statements by Biden and Wasserman Schultz, will be public.

More here.

September 02, 2015

In Miami, Joe Biden gets feel for what campaigning again would be like

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Joe Biden came to Miami on Wednesday and sounded — at times — like a politician with another campaign in him.

Speaking at Miami Dade College’s North Campus about making higher education more affordable, the vice president touched on the sort of themes — immigration reform, the economy and the middle class — that presidential candidates like to deploy from the stump.

Biden isn’t running right now. But he’s thinking about it. And his two-day trip to Miami-Dade and Broward, the most Democratic counties in the country’s largest swing state, only stoked the fire among reporters and political observers that a Biden 2016 campaign could be for real.

“It’s amazing how good the school is. Look at all the press you’ve attracted,” Biden joked to about 150 people gathered at MDC’s Science Complex. “Their interest in community colleges impresses me. I hope that’s what they’re going to write about!”

He also made a reference to people unafraid to fail — a line that referred to the courage of older students returning to college that nevertheless could apply to potential candidates weighing a run for office.

“People who aren’t willing to risk failure never succeed,” Biden said. At the end of the event, when a couple of reporters yelled questions about his plans, Biden didn’t respond. An unidentified man in the audience, though, let his own feelings known: “Run, Joe!”

Continue reading "In Miami, Joe Biden gets feel for what campaigning again would be like" »

Protesters expected at Joe Biden meeting about Iran at Davie JCC

Activists protesting the Iran deal are expected outside a meeting between Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, and Jewish leaders in Broward Thursday morning.

Wasserman Schultz, who is also the Democratic National Committee chair, helped arrange the meeting which will take place at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie. She is undecided about how she will vote on the Iran deal later this month.

Only a portion of the event will be open to the press -- likely statements by Biden and Wasserman Schultz and it’s unclear if they will take questions.

The protest is being led by Americans United Against the Deal, a group of activists who oppose the deal.

On Wednesday, Biden will give a speech about higher education at Miami Dade College and attend a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at the home of Stephen Bittel in Coconut Grove.

Joe Biden visits Florida, where he has strong ties and support but few see path to presidency


@adamsmithtimes @PatriciaMazzei

Few national Democratic figures have more longtime friends in Florida than does Joe Biden, who returns to the Sunshine state on Wednesday amid growing chatter that he could enter and upend the presidential race.

The vice president’s visit to South Florida — to discuss the Iran deal with Jewish residents, speak at Miami Dade College, and raise money for Democratic U.S. Senate campaigns — is his first high-profile trip since the prospect of him challenging Hillary Clinton for the nomination ceased to seem so far-fetched. Reporters and Biden’s friends alike will be watching for signals about his level of interest.

But for all of the vice president’s Florida ties and contacts — including top money-raisers and political strategists in his corner — it’s far easier to find Democrats who love the idea of the feisty, shoot-from-the-hip Biden running for president than Democrats who see a plausible path for him outside of the Clinton campaign falling off the tracks.

“I don’t hear anybody jumping off the Hillary Clinton ship. She has virtually every name in Florida,” said Chris Korge, a top Democratic fundraiser and longtime Clinton supporter in Miami. “Hillary’s got a hard-core group of supporters, a majority of which are women that are not shaking loose.”

Biden, 72, has significant Florida ties, including a younger brother in Palm Beach County; Miami developer Michael Adler, who was national finance chairman for his 2008 presidential campaign; Patrick Baskette of Tampa, a veteran Democratic consultant who worked on Biden’s U.S. Senate staff and his 1988 presidential campaign; and Tallahassee lobbyist Steve Schale, who ran Barack Obama’s 2008 Florida campaign and is now advising the Draft Biden 2016 Super PAC.

More here.

Photo credit: Evan Vucci, Associated Press

August 27, 2015

Joe Biden to speak at Miami Dade College

Vice President Joe Biden will speak at the Science Center at Miami Dade College on Sept. 2.

Update: The speech will take place sometime in the afternoon at North Campus, according to the university.

From a press release:

The Vice President will discuss the importance of helping more Americans go to college and the critical role that partnerships between community colleges and employers play in helping Americans obtain the skills they need to succeed in the workforce. On Thursday, September 3rd, the Vice President will meet with Jewish community leaders in Miami to discuss the nuclear deal reached with Iran.

Biden’s office has not released details about the meeting about the Iran deal but a Jewish leader invited to that event told Naked Politics yesterday that it will be held at the Jewish Community Center in Davie.

--with Patricia Mazzei